Learning Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric with Silverdale Press {Review}

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric

I have found an amazing homeschool writing curriculum and I wasn't even looking for one.  We already have a great composition program that we have been using in our homeschool but I'm always interested in learning about other products out there (aka "curriculum junkie").  The Homeschool Review Crew was given an opportunity to review Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers by Silverdale Press LLC and I said, "Yes, please!"

The program is a 36-week high school language arts program.  Students are taught persuasive writing while reading and responding to amazing written works by famous historical figures like Augustine, Patrick Henry, Jane Austen, and John F. Kennedy, just to name a few.  As stated on the first page of the Lesson Book, "Our goal is to turn students into great writers.  We believe that students become great writers by practicing the three habits of writing.  Writers write. Writers read. Writers think.  These three habits form the foundation of our curriculum."

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is intended to be worked on for four days a week.  Each day's lesson is already planned out and the plans are so easy to follow.  The program is composed of four downloadable books - the Lesson Book, Reader, Workbook, and an Answer Key.

The Lesson Book

This book contains all of the instruction for the course.  Parents do not have to teach the material.  The student can complete this part of the work independently.  Each lesson teaches a new concept and begins with a brief introduction and overview as well as a schedule of what will be covered in the week.  

Next the student reads the complete lesson and then reads "Profiles in Rhetoric" which introduces the student to a famous writer by giving them some history of the individual and why they wrote the way they did.

These lessons are beyond just a basic composition course.  They teach the art of communication by making your ideas known and understood by others.  Just take a look at the lesson included:

  1. Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric
  2. The Habits of Great Writers
  3. Introduction to Invention
  4. The Subject
  5. Sources
  6. Taking Notes
  7. Interlude for Research and Taking Notes
  8. Interlude for Research and Taking Notes (continued)
  9. Stasis Theory
  10. The Claim
  11. Inartistic Appeals
  12. Logical Appeals and Deductive Reasoning
  13. Logical Appeals and Inductive Reasoning
  14. Emotional Appeals, Part 1
  15. Emotional Appeals, part 2
  16. Ethical Appeals
  17. Introduction to Arrangement
  18. The Introduction
  19. Statement of Facts
  20. Confirmation
  21. Refutation
  22. The Conclusion
  23. Interlude for Writing
  24. Interlude for Writing (continued)
  25. Introduction to Style
  26. Correctness in Words and Sentences
  27. Correctness in Punctuation
  28. Clarity in Characters and Actions
  29. Clarity and Zapping Clutter
  30. Ornamentation
  31. Propriety
  32. Your Audience Is You
  33. What Real Writer Do
  34. Moving Past Rejection
  35. Pitching Your Work
  36. Following Up and Fostering Habits for Life


The Reader consists of an actual writing or excerpt of a writing from the author reviewed in the Profiles of Rhetoric in the Lesson Book.  There is one reading for each lesson.  This is just good reading material for everyone.  Some of them include "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech by Winston Churchill (Lesson 3), "The Federalist Papers" by Alexander Hamilton, "Fishes of the Middle West" by Rachel Carson, as well as speeches by Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Lincoln.


The Workbook contains pages that correspond with each lesson.  The daily workbook pages to be competed are only about a page to a page and a half.  They serve as a review of the lesson material learned as well as a probe to get the student thinking about how to apply the lesson in their own writing.  On the fourth day of each week, the workbook page includes a writing prompt related to the Reader selection for that lesson and an assignment to complete a 500 word essay based on this prompt.  Again, "writers write" so I love that there is a weekly assignment to exercise those newly learned writing skills.

Answer Key

This can be used by the parent in grading the workbook pages or the student can use it to check their own work.

While the Lesson Book does teach all of the instruction and students can use the answer key to grade their workbook pages, parents are needed to give feedback on the 500 word essay each week.  Even if the parents are not great writers, they can use the rubric in the Answer Key to help them with feedback.  However, I find it much more helpful to have already read the material myself so that I can be more knowledgeable when giving feedback to my son.

Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric is an impressive program because of the focus is on teaching the skill of persuasion in writing.  This is a skill that will help students for the rest of their lives regardless of the career path they may take.  The program is easy to use and exposes students to some great literature in the process.

From the Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric website you can download a sample of the first lesson or purchase the program for download for $119.99.

The only thing I didn't really like is that the materials are all digital.  While some people may just read most of the program online, I prefer to use printed material so my children can read, highlight, make notes, etc. and there are a lot of pages to print.  The Lesson Book is 235 pages, the Workbook is 202 pages, the Reader is 111 pages, and the Answer Key is 65 pages.  It might not seem like a big deal to print all of that but it never fails that when I have a lot of printing to do my printer always seems to run out of ink or starts having some weird problem. This time it left black streaks on all of the pages and I ended up having to reprint a lot of pages.  While my printer was acting up, I did think that it would be nice to have the option to just pay a little more money to be able to buy the material already printed.  However, I do appreciate the online option for those that like to read online and I like that there isn't a lot of colored pictures in the material so that helps to save for printing costs.  

Silverdale Press
If you are interested in reading about what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of this product or other products from Silverdale Press LLC, please click on the banner below:

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

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Rachel Got a Golden Ticket!

Rachel has been participating in Hockey Academy twice a week.  It is a great program for developing skills to use in the game of hockey.  She has been very blessed that one of the coaches in her Hockey Academy just happens to be Brad Lukowich, a former NHL Dallas Star and two-time winner of the NHL Stanley Cup.  It is amazing that she is being coached by a former NHL player and Stanley Cup winner but all of that aside, she couldn't have a better coach.  Coach Brad is so good with kids.  He gives each of them his one-on-one attention.  He really pours his passion for hockey into the kids he coaches.

The Farmers Branch Star Center where we spend all of our free time has been a little crazy lately as they prepare to host hockey players from all over the country who are coming to Dallas for the NHL Draft this coming weekend.  They are also hosting an Xtreme Team hockey camp where Nicholas will be all week.  The rink is also having a special event on Thursday, June 21 called Texas Hockey Day.  There will be lots of free public skating, autograph sessions, a hockey clinic with the top NHL prospects, hockey games, a bounce house, and a lot more.  Coach Brad told Stuart he had nominated Rachel for a special, once-in-a-lifetime kind of event to take place on Texas Hockey Day but he didn't tell us more than that.  Stuart got a call from the Dallas Stars Executive Offices and he was told to bring Rachel to the offices on Monday at 2:15 to receive a package.  That's all she would say.  How exciting!!

We showed up in the autograph tunnel at the Frisco Star Center which is where we had been told to go.  There were six other kids and their families there.  Rachel was dying with anticipation!

Eventually we were escorted into a special access area and taken down a long hallway.

We were taken into the Executive Offices and saw lots of Dallas Stars signs everywhere.

We were told to go into this conference room.  Rachel was the first in line for the whole group and she walked in boldly, even with a camera man staring at her.

The kids all sat around a table wondering what was going to happen next.

And then....Marty Turco, former NHL Dallas Star goalie, appeared in the room!  He has the most wins of any Dallas Star goalie ever!

He talked to the kids about the upcoming Draft picks this weekend and he talked about Texas Hockey Day.  Then he said that someone important must really think they are special to have been invited there today.  Then he passed out an envelope to each child.  Inside the envelope was a Golden Ticket!

The Golden Ticket was a special invitation to participate in the NHL Top Draft Prospects hockey clinic on Texas Hockey Day.  This is an incredible opportunity for anyone that loves to play hockey (Stuart and Nicholas are so jealous!)  Rachel will receive a special jersey then she will participate in a hockey clinic where she will receive instruction from current NHL Dallas Star top players Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Ben Bishop!  There will also be the Top NHL Draft Prospects there as well as Dallas Stars Alumni and the Dallas Stars Xtreme Team!!

Everyone posed with Mr. Turco for some media pictures.

Rachel was excited to meet Marty Turco!

Stuart and I had brought along some things for signatures just in case so we got Mr. Turco to autograph two hockey pucks for us!

Back in the car, we were talking to Rachel about the Golden Ticket and she got so excited she fainted!  Just joking!  She is just a ham.

She is incredibly excited about this wonderful opportunity on Thursday.  We will be taking Nicholas to Xtreme Team camp that day for 8:30 and we will just stay there since Rachel is supposed to be there for 9:30.  There will be a lot of hockey fever at the rink that day since it will be Texas Hockey Day.  There will be events and special appearances by Dallas Star players all day long so we will probably just camp out at the rink all day to soak up all of the excitement.

Go Fish!

Now that summer is here, kids are ready to have some fun.  Keep them off those electronic devices and get them outdoors.  We had a great time this morning meeting friends at a local freshwater pond to go fishing.  The pond is located at Heritage Park in Flower Mound.  In addition to the pond, there are restrooms, a playground, and splash pad at the park.  But we were all about fishing today.

The pond has a large fountain so the water is well aerated for the fish living there. 

I enjoyed sitting by the waterfall because the sound of the rushing water was just so relaxing.

The older boys were great at helping the younger kids change bait and hooks and take the fish off the line once they were reeled in.

But really, all of the kids worked together to help each other.  It was a wonderful display of teamwork.

The kids caught about 18 fish this morning.  Most were sunfish.

But one of the boys caught this baby bass.  Wow!

The kids released everything they caught.  But they had a great time finding and catching them.

And nothing is better than enjoying a beautiful morning outdoors while catching fish too!

What was the most successful bait?  Hot pink Crappie Nibbles were a big hit.  The water is really clear and several kids were able to take off their bobbers and just fish by sight.

Nicholas has been fishing for years and has accumulated quite a nicely stocked tackle box over that time.  

However, if you have a pole, have your kids dig up some worms for bait and your fishing outing can be entirely free!  Kids under 17 years of age don't even need a Texas fishing license.

Fish aren't the only living things to enjoy at the pond though.  I did a mini-nature study on my own while the kids were fishing.  I found some wispy fountain grass growing around the edge of the water.

There were several bees out searching for their morning nectar.

This beautiful widow skimmer dragonfly hovered around and landed on some grass in the pond.

And one side of the pond has a beautiful patch of cattails.

So before the summer heat gets too extreme, find a pond and take your kids fishing.  Savor these days with your little ones and make some great summer memories.  The dishes and laundry and yard work can wait another day.

Learning Cursive with Memoria Press {Review}

New American Cursive

You have probably seen me mention Memoria Press classical education materials a few times on this blog.  We have used their homeschool curriculum for several subjects including science, history, and foreign language.  I was recently given the opportunity to review their penmanship curriculum for grades 1-4.  I have liked it so much that I have added it to Rachel's regular homeschool studies.  She has been learning to write in cursive with the New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans) book from Memoria Press.

New American Cursive 2 (Scripture)

New American Cursive is a form of cursive that uses a simplified letter style.  All of the letters actually look like their manuscript counterparts.  It is a great way for beginners to learn cursive.

I especially love the way that Memoria Press makes learning cursive fun by calling letter strokes Smiles, Grins, and Jumps.

It also explains which line to draw the strokes on by comparing the lines on the page to a "Letter House" with the top line being the Third Floor, the dotted middle line is the Second Floor, the bottom line is the First Floor, and the part that drops below the line is the Basement.

Rachel is left-handed so I appreciate the way that this workbook is spiral-bound at the top so she isn't having to struggle with binding on the left side of the page getting in the way of her writing hand.  The workbook is also great in that it gives constant reminders about the importance of correct pencil position and paper placement.  I continuously struggle with getting her to hold her pencil correctly so these reminders are helpful.

Rachel has never tried to learn cursive so this was her first experience with it.  With that in mind, I realize that I should have probably chosen the New American Cursive 1 book for her since she is just starting out.  I have to admit that I was just in love with the fact that the New American Cursive 2 (Famous Americans) book offered quotations from famous Americans for writing practice passages.  But there is also a New American Cursive 2 (Scriptures) book that uses Bible scriptures for writing practice.  It looks wonderful too.  I'm really glad that I chose the Cursive 2 book.  It has a lot of review in it and so we started out spending a lot of time on that part so she could learn the basic strokes.  She has picked it up really well.  

The only curriculum you need to purchase is the New American Cursive 2 workbook for $22.95.  It is consumable and intended to be used by one student.  The worksheet pages teach the strokes so there is no need to buy a teacher manual.  As a matter of fact, Rachel does her cursive work independently just by reading the workbook pages on her own so I don't have to "teach" that subject to her at all.  The workbook includes 125 short writing exercises to learn and practice her skills.  She completes one page a day and is progressing well through the program especially considering her lack of experience.

Rachel is still working through the book so we will be continuing to work on this through the summer.  I looked ahead at some of the work she will be doing soon.  

The Homeschoool Review Crew was given the choice of review products.  I chose the New American Cursive Penmanship program but other members of the crew chose to review their Traditional Logic and Classical Composition programs.  If you would like to read reviews from crew members on any of these three products, just click on the banner below.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}

We enjoy using Memoria Press curriculum in our homeschool.  Here are some other reviews we have done for some of their other products:

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